How these girls powered St. Catherine’s to win prestigious science award

Posted at 8:22 AM, May 22, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. -- Girl power. It's a slogan that encourages and celebrates female empowerment, confidence, and strength. While traditional thinking has girls playing with dolls, these 4th graders at St. Catherine's in Richmond are playing with robots. The school created programs to get more girls interested in STEM fields like computer science and robotics.

"They find that they are not only quite often very good at it, but they really enjoy it," Doran McBride, the school’s Director of Technology, said.

St. Catherine's was awarded the first College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity award. It was the only school in Richmond to receive it, and one of just 11 schools in Virginia.

And it's not just the teachers who got the ball rolling. Junior Claire Herrington took the same classes when she was in elementary school here. Claire will be working over the summer to create an after-school computer curriculum for classes next year.

That's girl power.

"Girls offer diverse ideas and since computer science is a lot about thinking and creativity, more so than most people think," Claire said. “It's important to have a variety of people on your team working on projects."

Ms. McBride said she believed early exposure to STEM can lead to more opportunities.

"By the time they get to middle school, they can take electives around creating with technology," she said. "They have the interest and skills to do that and then that momentum continues as they get to upper school. "

Building that momentum... is Building Better Minds.

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs Wednesdays on CBS 6 at 6 a.m.